Germany's biggest fitness franchises:
www.mcfit.com (German website only)
Location: 89 cities throughout Germany but with new locations under development
Opening Hours: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week all year long
Fees: McFit offers a fixed membership rate: € 16.90/month (plus € 19 fee for the membership card) with a minimum contract of 12 months.
Trainers and Free Trial: available
Unique Features: This is the least expensive gym in Germany with the most extensive opening hours but .offers no classes. The gym set-up is a based on a color-coded training system separated by color zones:
- Yellow zone- beginner resistance machines/level 1
- Green zone – intermediate resistance machines/level 2
- Red zone – Advanced free weight area
- Blue zone – Cardio equipment which includes recumbent bikes, upright bikes, treadmills, cross-trainers, step machines and rowing machines.
2. Kaifu Lodge
http://www.kaifulodge.de/de/home/default.aspx (German only)
Opening Hours: vary daily, Mon – Fri: approx. 7:00 am – 12:30 am, Sat – Sun: 8:00 am – 12:30 am. For exact opening hours, holiday hours and weight room hours, visit the website.
Fees: Only available at the Lodge.
Free Trial: no information given
Unique Features: Kaifu Lodge is a high-end fitness center and spa with a free climbing area, squash courts, restaurant and four studios that offer over 200 courses per week. The gym has cardio machines, 70 Cybex strength training machines, a free weight area and a stretching area. The spa facilities include 2 indoor pools, one heated outdoor pool, 4 Finnish saunas, steam bath, ice room, Kneipp zone, fire place room, tanning benches and massage areas. The courses offered cover 40 different fitness/dance possibilities which include yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi etc.
3. Holmes Place
Location: 16 locations in 4 countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, USA);
German locations: Berlin, Düsseldorf, Köln, Lübeck, Hamburg
Opening Hours: Mon-Thurs: 6:00 am – 11:00 pm; Fri 6:00 am – 10:00 pm, Sat-Sun 9:00 am – 9:00 pm
Fees: start at € 99/month (corporate and personal memberships available, as well as seasonal membership specials)
Trainers and free trials: available
Unique Features: Cardio and strength training equipment, a wide variety of work-out and class (Yoga, Aerobics, Pilates), spa facilities (sauna, pool, steam bath, tanning benches, cosmetic services), women’s club, child care, kids club (with classes for children), restaurant and club lounge available, not all features are the same for each location. Holmes Place offers a selection of 115 different courses, the largest in Germany according to their website.
4. Women's Fitness
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 8:00 am – 10:00 pm; Sat-Sun 9:00 am – 8:00 pm Fees: start at € 49/month, depending on the duration of the contract. This gym offers a 3-month contract, which is rare in Germany.
Free trials: no information given
Unique features: This fitness center is for women only. Women’s Fitness has a wide range of strength-training and cardio equipment, a wide class selection that includes yoga, Pilates, step-aerobics, etc. and a sauna and tanning beds.
www.injoy.de (German only)
Location: 146 locations in Germany. This franchise takes various forms: Injoy (normal gym facility), Injoy Med (specializing in physiotherapy – often with a doctor’s practice attached for targeted physical therapy), Injoy Lady (a lady’s only gym with program geared towards women) and Injoy Station (and Injoy-quality gym facility housed within a hotel). Each location has its own website.
Opening Hours: Locations vary in size and opening hours. The smaller locations have limited opening hours i.e. closed over lunch, while the bigger locations are open until after midnight.
Trainers and free trials: available
Fees: no available information
Unique Features: Each individual location has somewhat different amenities. While each club has the usual assortment of cardio and strength-training equipment, childcare facilities and course selection will vary. Injoy differs somewhat from other franchises because of its specialized weight-loss courses as well as targeted back training (both of which can be subsidized by many German health insurance providers). This gym features a printable coupon on their website for a trial session.
6. Fitness Company
www.fitcom.de (German only)
Fitness Company breaks its franchises into four different themes: 76 Lifestyle clubs (targeting singles, those who want to enjoy getting fit and have fun); 16 Ladies clubs (geared towards women only); 11 Business Health clubs (for the business crowd); 4 Premium Health clubs (for the luxury lovers).
Locations: 107 locations in Germany
Fees: start at € 29.90/month
Trainers and free trials: available
Unique Features: Different locations offer different amenities, among which you can expect cardio and strength training equipment, personal and on-floor training, free weights, stretching zones, classes of all types (50+, strength training, relaxation i.e. yoga, some clubs have pools, squash courts, saunas, tanning beds, child care, restaurants, DVD rentals, steam baths, Finnish saunas, and in some cases there are separate saunas just for women.
7. PowerFrau Bootcamp
www.powerfraubootcamp.de (In English)
Location: Düsseldorf – Check website for other locations
Opening Hours: Mondays and Thursdays- Morning or Evening Sessions. Saturdays (Premium Training).
Fees: 3 different packages starting at just 89 EURO per month.
Trainers: Programme created by JJ Armstrong MSc, Exercise Physiologist & Army PT Instructor
Free Trial: If you are not 100% satisfied after the first session we will give you a refund.
Unique Features: Powerfrau Bootcamp is the ONLY English speaking Bootcamp exclusively for women in Germany. Based on the successful London camps, Powerfrau is the perfect expat exercise weight loss and fitness programme. Combining specialised powerful resistance exercise and pumping cardio to get you in shape fast! All levels of fitness catered for.
All sessions are taught in English and the class consists of professional, educated women in beautiful outdoor park settings. In the Winter, Powerfrau also offers indoor training at the same hard-pumping intensity.
Almost all fitness clubs offer a free trial session which will give you an opportunity to walk through your potential routine with a trainer and familiarize yourself with the machines you may not be know how to use. If you have not been for a workout for some time, suffer from any chronic illness or are older than 35, do consult a physician before signing up at any gym. Once you have had a chance to check things out, make sure the gym hours, the equipment offered and the course selection meets your needs.
Germany’s health care system will pay for some specialized fitness classes such as gymnastics for seniors or pregnant women, baby and children’s classes, back training, etc… Each course must be of a specific duration and run over a set number of weeks to qualify. Consult your insurance provider before you sign up to ensure that your course fit the prerequisites.
If, however, the thought of pumping iron is not for you but hiking is, why not try Volksmarching? Volksmarching is a form of organized walking that involves registration for a small fee at the beginning and a trinket at the end with refreshments! The routes vary from 10 km – 30 km. The only thing you need is a sturdy pair of shoes or boots. At sign up you will be given a card to be stamped at specific checkpoints en route. The trinket, which is typically a medal or a small figurine, is your reward for completing the walk. Volksmarches can take you to various locations throughout Germany, France, Switzerland and Austria and are a wonderful way to see the countryside on foot and get fit!
But should biking be more your style, you will be well-served in Germany with its over 40,000 km of marked biking trails2. There a vast number of web links available if you would like to know more about biking or arranging a bike holiday in Germany, see: www.bicyclegermany.com/links.html.
- See: www.fitforfun.de website
Explanation of fees: with the exception of McFit, the fees for the gyms vary greatly i.e include administrative or joining fees, or are dependant on each customer’s goals and needs and therefore cannot be given specifically. Also, many fitness centers will not give out their fees over the phone.
- According to ADAC’s publication “Motorwelt”, July 2004 issue